JJ Blog Content 3 MAR 2023

What Is an Apprehended Violence Order?

If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you needed legal protection from someone, chances are you’ve come across the term AVO order. But what exactly is this order, and how does it work within the Australian legal system?

This article aims to help you understand the purpose of an AVO, its significance and the steps involved in obtaining one. Read on so you will gain knowledge about how AVOs operate and be empowered to make informed decisions about your own safety.

Overview of an Apprehended Violence Order

An apprehended violence order or as otherwise commonly referred to in American television shows, a restraining order, is an order of the court that prohibits the person who is the subject of the order from engaging in certain conduct, such as acts of family or personal violence. This order can be made by a court anywhere in Australia and is enforceable across state and territory borders through the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme. 

An AVO aims to protect individuals from harm, harassment or intimidation. It is designed to prohibit specific behaviours or actions by another person, known as the defendant, who poses a threat or potential danger to the person seeking protection, known as the applicant or person in need of protection (‘PINOP’).

The primary purpose of an AVO is to ensure the safety and well-being of the applicant or PINOP by establishing boundaries and preventing contact or proximity between the applicant or PINOP and the defendant. It serves as a legal tool to mitigate the risk of physical, emotional or psychological harm and provides a means for individuals to assert their rights to personal security.

If a person breaches the terms of an AVO, they commit a criminal offence and may be fined or imprisoned. Therefore, AVOs are an important legal tool for protecting victims of personal or family violence in Australia.

Types of Orders

In Australia, there are different types of orders that cater to specific circumstances and forms of potential harm. 

  • Domestic Violence Orders

Family violence restraining orders are designed to restrict a person who has previously committed family violence against you and is likely to do so again. They also apply to individuals whose behaviour creates a reasonable belief that family violence will occur in the future.

  • Personal Violence Orders

Personal violence restraining orders aim to restrain a person whom you believe is likely to commit a violent personal offence against you or someone for whom you have legal responsibility, such as a child. They also cover individuals whose behaviour instils fear that such an offence may be committed.

The specific names and classifications of AVOs may vary across different states and territories in Australia. However, the fundamental purpose remains consistent: to safeguard individuals from harm and ensure their safety.

What Are Valid Reasons for an AVO?

While the specific reasons may vary based on individual circumstances, here are some common valid reasons for obtaining an AVO:

  • Domestic or Family Violence: If you have experienced or are at risk of domestic or family violence, such as physical abuse, emotional or psychological harm, sexual assault, harassment or stalking, you have valid grounds to seek an AVO.
  • Threats and Intimidation: If someone has made credible threats against you, engaged in intimidating behaviour or created a reasonable fear of harm, you can pursue an order to protect yourself from potential violence or harassment.
  • Stalking and Cyberbullying: If you are being stalked, whether in person or through online platforms, or if you are a victim of cyberbullying, where someone uses electronic communication to harass, intimidate or threaten you, an AVO can provide legal protection.
  • Child Protection: If you believe that your child is at risk of harm or has experienced abuse, you can seek an AVO to ensure their safety and prevent contact between the alleged perpetrator and the child.
  • Property Damage: If someone has caused or threatened to cause damage to your property, obtaining an AVO can help prevent further harm and protect your belongings.
  • Personal Safety and Well-being: If you genuinely fear for your personal safety, well-being or mental health due to the actions or behaviours of another person, you have valid reasons to pursue an AVO.

Note that these reasons are not exhaustive, and individual circumstances can vary significantly. An experienced AVO lawyer will help you better understand the specific legal requirements and ensure that you have a strong case for obtaining a restraining order based on your unique situation. They can provide guidance, support and representation throughout the legal process, maximising your chances of a successful outcome.

Who Can Apply for an AVO?

In Australia, an application for AVOs can be made by:

  • A person seeking protection;
  • A parent or guardian of a child or adult under guardianship; or
  • A police officer.

It is essential to consider the specific circumstances and consult with AVO specialist lawyers to determine the most appropriate type of order for your situation. They can guide you through the application process and ensure that your rights and safety are effectively protected.

If you are in need of legal assistance to obtain an AVO, Jackson John Defence Lawyers is here to help. Our team of experienced AVO lawyers has the knowledge, skills and resources to provide you with the legal support you need to ensure your safety and well-being.

We understand that the process of obtaining an AVO can be complex and emotionally challenging. That’s why we offer compassionate, client-focused services to guide you through every step of the way. We’ll listen to your story, assess your situation and provide you with the most effective legal options available.

Don’t let domestic violence, harassment or other threatening behaviour go unchecked. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you.